Note: This review was originally written for GMTech Issue 17 back in September ’09. However, the GMTech website is down and no news on it has been heard of for several months so I’m sharing it here.
Do you ever play a game which is really, REALLY addictive? As in, you stop playing after five minutes only to realise the five minutes was actually an hour. To me, Boxes was this. It’s not hugely varied in gameplay, and there’s only one mode of gameplay, but it really does hit something brilliant. About five seconds into my first play, I was thinking it was just a graphically enhanced take on that game you get in the Game Maker’s Apprentice, “Lazarus”. It soon showed me it was much, much more.
The premise of the game, you ask? Well, basically, you’re a box. You can strafe and jump. Throughout the game, other boxes fall down. You have to progress upwards while ensuring no other boxes fall ontop of you. To make the game less boring, there are also special blocks, which do things when you touch them such as make you invincible, increase your jump height, slow down the gameplay, or simply count down then blow up Crash Bandicoot TNT-style. Furthermore, strange occurences will happen every now and then. These include “waves”, where a box is dropped down every “column” in turn, and a temperature increase, which adds more danger – an ever-growing pool of lava beneath you.
Graphically, the game isn’t perfect. It’s more than adequate though. The background is the best aspect – an animated, great looking pattern of lines and shapes. The boxes themselves go nicely with the game style, being a tad see-through and only being outlined on the sides if there’s not a box adjacent to each one. In my opinion, the font used let the side down a bit though – I’ve seen Arial used in so much it’s starting to tire.
Sound-wise, the sound effects are fine. Music is a strong point – a hard, beaty track that goes fantastically with the fast paced gameplay. Then, of course, there’s the extract of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees… that works well too, amazingly. My only disappointment came from the fact you can only get the achievement that triggers Stayin’ Alive once.
In terms of originality, games like this have been done before, though Boxes adds enough of its own content to keep it feeling like a fresh idea.
I’d highly recommend you play Boxes. It’s clear that a lot of work has been put into it by Twenty3 to make it as fun as possible. It paid off. Move over, various illegal drugs, a new addiction has entered the arena… and with this one, you’re more likely to be stayin’ alive.
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